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Changes to Children Act Mooted Following Court Branding Current Care Orders 'Unenforceable'
Changes to the Children Act 1989 have been proposed in order to close a legal gap regarding English or Welsh Councils sending children to secure units in Scotland.
The move would see section 25 of the Act extended to cover cases where local authorities from England and Wales place children in secure accommodation in Scotland.
Plans to expand the Act's reach follow a High Court ruling in September concerning a test case overseen by Family court chief Sir James Munby,
The case concerned a 15-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl who had been placed in Scottish secure units after no places were available in England.
The court ruled that because their care orders had been made by English courts, they could not be recognised or enforced in Scotland.
Munby warned that a shortage of secure accomodations placements in England meant that more councils were turning to Scotland, so a solution to this situation would be required urgently.
Official figures show that the number of places commissioned at secure units have declined by 34% over the last 10 years, from 390 in 2006 to 254 this year.
In its current guise the English and Welsh legislation only applies to placements between the two countries, but changes may now be made through amendments to the Children and Social Work Bill.